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Grammar and Idioms For Young People

Idioms: Very Colorful

These idioms may be challenging for a person from another country to use--or feel comfortable using. But they are good to know in case you live or work around an American who likes them. You may hear these expressions used by humorous or colorful characters on TV.

Listen to these idioms in use: watch a video and read a conversation.

raining cats and dogs: raining very hard, rain is heavy and coming down fast (popular in southern states)

a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: what you have now is better than what you might have in the future (often say only, "a bird in the hand ..." which references this idiom)

when pigs fly! -- something will never happen (it will happen only when pigs start to fly)

barking up the wrong tree: putting attention in the wrong direction (like a dog barking and looking into a tree that has nothing in it)

food for wagging tongues: a topic for gossip (taken from dogs with tongues hanging out)

beat around the bush: to avoid the true subject, to say meaningless things and not say the important point, often used like this, "I won't beat around the bush. I need ..."

keep (put) all your eggs in one basket: to have only one thing, such as a job, hobby or goal--so that if you lose it, you have nothing; usually use negatively, "I don't keep ..." or "you shouldn't keep ..."

you and what army: an exclamation used when someone intends to do something that seems impossible (meaning the person would need an army's help)

(his/her) bark is worse than (his/her) bite: the person's speech is generally worse than the person's actions

In Use:

We had planned to go to the mall, but it's raining cats and dogs outside.

He had a job with at&t, but he wanted to work at amazon.com, and so he missed his first day at at&t to go to an amazon interview. He ended up losing both jobs. You know what they say, "a bird in the hand ..."

She is always trying to get new customers for her business, but she is careful to be very nice to the customers she has now. As they say, "a bird in the hand ..."

I'll apologize when pigs fly! Why should I apologize if I did nothing wrong?

I told her she was barking up the wrong tree. She was determined to be angry at me, but I had nothing to do with her problem.

I heard that the CEO is getting his 4th divorce. That'll be food for wagging tongues.

Thanks for meeting with me. I won't beat around the bush. I'd like to know if I can apply for the new management position.

I teach part-time at the university and I also have private students. I prefer not to keep all my eggs in one basket.

You plan to write a new encyclopedia? You and what army!

When you meet my father, don't worry about anything he says. His bark is worse than his bite.



Listen to these idioms in use:

watch a video

and read a conversation.

Learn more Idioms: 

Common Idioms, Business Idioms and Colorful Idioms.

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